The Value of Certifications in Outsourcing


    The International Association of Outsourcing Professionals held a three-part Webcast last week on "SME Global Sourcing."

    All topics were interesting, but the one I want to blog about covered, "Vendor selection for Software Outsourcing: What To Expect from Certified Companies," presented by Oliver Houck with Kevinson Paige.

    Service providers invest a great deal in these certifications — whether it’s ITIL, CMMi, or one of the many others offered by companies, organizations and educational institutions. And for their part, clients tend to rank certifications high — up there with industry experience — according to recent survey work by the organization, Offshoring Outsourcing Best Practices.

    The question is, do they serve a true purpose?

    According to Houck, they’re certainly not a "cure-all." As he (Power)pointed out:

    • Certifications do not guarantee quality results.
    • Certifications do not reduce or eliminate the evaluation process or due diligence.
    • Vendors without certification may not be an indication of a failure to achieve certification. Certification is voluntary.

    So what do certifications bring to the equation? When they’ve been achieved legitimately and from a body that knew how to develop a certification program and had the resources for doing so, certifications increase the probability, says Houck, that your software project will follow a "predictable schedule, cost and quality." It’ll probably have "faster delivery" and a "lower cost of ownership."

    In other words, the organization with which you’re dealing has gone through some form of education and testing/evaluation to prove that they know what they say they know.

    As he concluded, "Certification does not remove the need for due diligence or a strong evaluation process. It’s very important that you look at certification as something that enhances, not just eliminates."

    You can read through the archived slides here.


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